Voices of Recovery

Meet Cody Chua

There are more than 23 million Americans from all walks of life who have found recovery. We would like to celebrate that fact by introducing, highlighting and celebrating the achievements of those in recovery while also breaking down the negative stereotypes and stigmas built around addiction and recovery.

How old are you? 27

Where do you live? Houston

Who are you, and what do you do? Full-time student at the University of Houston

What is your relationship to addiction and recovery? My sobriety date is July 4, 2016. This is my second attempt at sobriety, but I take it very seriously. I was undiagnosed bipolar, but my addiction forced me to confront my understanding of mental illness, and it challenged me to take greater ownership of my life.

If you’re in school, where do you go to school, what are you studying, and what year in school are you or when do you expect to graduate? I have gone to University of Texas at Austin but subsequently transferred to University of Houston. I am majoring in theatre-playwriting and minoring in political science.

What is on your bookshelf? The Complete Works of William Shakespeare, Ender’s Game by Orson Scott Card, Everything Is Illuminated by Jonathan Safran Foer, Rosencrantz and Guildenstern Are Dead by Tom Stoppard, and The Hobbit by J.R.R. Tolkien

What is a superpower you’d like to have? I’d like to be fluent in every language so no matter where I traveled, I’d be able to have an interesting conversation with whomever I met.

What’s something most people don’t know about you? I suffer from stage fright.

What is on your bucket list? Visit every state in the U.S. and travel to other countries (Japan, South Korea or the U.K.)

What is one thing you are glad to have done but wouldn’t do it again? Survived cancer (acute lymphoblastic leukemia and acute necrotic pancreatitis). Lost three organs (pancreas, gall bladder and spleen). Knock on wood.

What would you do if you won the lottery? Give the money away to various charitable nonprofits.I don’t know which. I might give it to my parents, but they would probably refuse it. They are very selfless.

What item in your closet do you wear the most? A shirt of Tina from Bob’s Burgers lying on her back and going “UHHHHHHHH.” Because I go to UH, it kind of works. #UHHHHHmazing.

What actor would play you in a movie? Joseph Gordon Levitt in 50/50

What brings you the greatest joy? Acting in front of a live audience

What is the best gift you’ve ever received? My dad paid out of pocket for me to have an autologous islet cell transplant at the University of Minnesota in Rochester. Because of that surgery, in conjunction with a full pancreatectomy, I am alive and am not dependent on giving myself insulin injections. My blood sugar levels are always stable.

What are you proudest of? Returning to school after a gap year in recovery. Accepting my “chronic illnesses” (living with my condition without a pancreas and living a sober life)

What are the most important lessons you’ve learned in life? Life is short. Circumstances change sometimes unexpectedly, so count my blessings and hope that I can make the most of it.

What is your favorite quote? “I waited a long time out in the world before I gave myself permission to fail. Please don’t even bother asking. Don’t bother telling the world you are ready. Show it. Do it.” —Peter Dinklage

What is the best advice you’ve been given? I’m paraphrasing: “Don’t be too hard on yourself.” —Hilary Suzawa, my pediatric oncologist from Texas Children’s Hospital, and my parents

What is one thing you wish you knew when you were younger? Drinking isn’t nearly as fun as everyone makes it out to be.

What does your future hold? I’m still writing it. It’s a mystery.

Voices of Recovery captures the trials, tribulations and, most importantly, the joys of being in recovery. If you or someone you know is interested in being featured, please email kelseydallen@gmail.com.

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